How to prepare a technical coordination in a youth development soccer academy?
Authors: Eduardo Teixeira, Nuno Loureiro and João Paulo Costa
Escola Superior de Desporto de Rio Maior / Instituto Politécnico de Santarém
Life Quality Research Centre (CIEQV)
It’s consensual that the sports training provided by clubs must respond to a demanding process of preparation, development and consolidation of a methodological and pedagogical scope. So, we expose the concerns inherent to one of the four dimensions of a Technical Coordination (TC) modulation work in a football training entity, specifically at the level of its conceptualization.
Technical Coordination in the Structure of a Club
A soccer club, regardless of its size and projection, must display a clear organizational structure. For this, it is essential to have an organization chart that can serve as a reference to the jurisdictional limits of the clubs different hierarchical levels, as well as to understand the roles and responsibilities inherent to each of its sub-structures.
The club’s training department, which we will designate as the Youth Development Soccer Academy acquires its own position in the organization and is directly influenced by the club’s objectives, the social context, the available resources, the model to be implemented, the structural and also by the competitive level of the club.
Each club is unique (has its own identity) so the adequacy of the Technical Coordination intervention has to be in harmony with the context. Thus, we suggest that Technical Coordination defines the real dimension and profile of the club.
It is important to note that in Portugal, through the Certification Process of the Portuguese Football Federation (2018), training clubs can even propose to be a Basic Soccer Training Center, a Soccer School or a Youth Development Academy. The study and analysis of the criteria presented are, in our opinion, important indicators for the selection of the type of club that is intended to be developed in the training area.
The responsibility of the Technical Coordination must be the responsibility of a leader who has a sport experience, who guarantees sensitivity and multidisciplinary knowledge of the sport, academic and/or technical training, fulfilling the qualifications required for a position of this nature and, at the same time, a personality profile that reflects a sense of leadership, relationship skills, commitment and communication skills.
Framed in full respect for the club’s general statutes and regulations, the functions of the TC have an organizational, administrative, logistical, communicational, representative and control/evaluation nature.
Planning and strategic outline of technical coordination
Conceptual planning is an assessment that precedes and directs the action to generate the future and, therefore, increase the capacity to predict it. In this perspective, the knowledge of the club and the strategic outline of the Youth Development Academy are two assumptions adjacent to the preparation of the Technical Coordination that allow defining a relevant assumptions on the set of attitudes, values and beliefs that emerge in the behaviors of people within the institution.
Gathering and analyzing information about the club’s identity and its dynamics becomes imperative for the Technical Coordination planning process to be adequate.
Based on this analysis the Technical Coordination is in a position to clarify, in line with the senior staff of the club, the vocation, mission and objectives of the Youth Development Academy.
This conceptual definition is exposed in a document (physical or digital) which, in turn, is made available to all elements that intervene directly and indirectly in the Academy.
Concomitantly, and for the Technical Coordination to complete its multifactorial analysis, we suggest the application of a SWOT analysis that allows the realization of a diagnosis regarding the existing relationships between the entity’s strengths and weaknesses (internal aspects), with the opportunities and threats that are verify in the context in which it is inserted (external aspects).
Another peculiarity in the strategic delineation is the need to establish an effective plan with regard to the orientation and basic monitoring of the club’s players.
We highlighted six basic issues that influence strategic guidelines:
• What number and characteristics of players to integrate?
• What is the minimum and maximum limit of training levels and teams to adopt?
• How is the management of players between teams and the dynamics of their transition between the various levels of formation carried out?
• How are the dynamics of acquisition, loan, assignment, sale and dismissal of players processed?
• What methodology to use to accompany the players along the training course and their relationship with the parents?
The answer to these questions identifies the characteristics and policy of the Youth Development Academy, which, directly, will condition the paradigm of technical and methodological intervention at the level of the various levels of training.
In summary form, and since this theme is already framed in the dimension of “design and implementation of a training model” (to be developed in a next article), we present a proposal to adapt the various training stages. Thus, Technical Coordination can choose for a 4 stage model (suitable for basic training centers and football schools) or for a 5 stage model, suitable for entities that invest in training for high performance.
In order to complete the strategic outline, it is necessary to project the budget that is destined to the club’s formation football in order to adapt the TC own intervention in technical, logistical options and operational aspects that will have to be assumed, namely: in the design of salaries, premiums, subsidies and allowances for the various human resources; the maintenance of sports spaces (control, security, cleaning, water, electricity, gas, rents, among others); the acquisition of material and logistical resources; registration of teams, players, coaches and other members of the technical and managerial staff in the respective regional associations; in food; in the costs intrinsic to the competitive participation of the teams (game fees, arbitration fees, fuel, tolls, car rental, among others); and, also, the organization of various activities and events of a technical scope.
The successful preparation of the Technical Coordination will strongly affect the future work to be carried out in the Youth Development Academy. Based on this premise, we proposed a set of steps that should be taken in the operationalization of this dimension.
This entire preparation phase is supported by a structural option having as a special reference the number of teams to integrate in each level of training.
Therefore, and in conclusion, we present the functional areas that can be part of a training entity’s Technical Coordination, as well as the respective needs in terms of human resources.
Based on the assumptions evidenced throughout this preparation phase, we consider that the theoretical conditions are met for the Technical Coordination to sustainably organize the club’s football formation, namely: in the definition, articulation and operationalization of the functional areas and the respective levels of formation; in the design and implementation of a technical training model (adapting a game learning model and its preparation model); and in carrying out all the operational work inherent to the functions assigned to it (production of general regulations, internal and external organizational communication, general planning of technical activity, promotion and organization of activities, supervision and control of activity and in the application of guiding principles planning, intervention and control and evaluation technicians).
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